From time to time I like to post on stuff happening in my state…..Mississippi. Recently I commented on another blog about their post of the “under God” slogan passed by the legislature….my comment was more like….”Great! But maybe they should spend more time trying to improve the quality of life of their fellow Mississippians. We are at the bottom of most good list and the top of most bad list.” The retort was that Mississippi is not at the bottom of unemployed list we are 44th. My response was….”Great! There is something to be proud of….no doubt.”
Mississippi has lousy health care, education, employment, the highest rates for diabetes and obesity….like I said…all things to be proud of………for instance…here is the agenda for our governor as published in the Clarion-Ledger………
The House passed a pilot program to study using the ACT as a high school exit exam. Bryant said the move would save the state an estimated $3.5 million a year. He said the move has support from parents, school superintendents and others. “After you graduate, people want to know your ACT score, not your score on subject-area tests,” Bryant said. “I call this ‘wheels on luggage’ — why did it take so long to figure out, after we’ve been toting luggage around all those years. This will save that money, and they’ll be using a test that students are going to need.”
Federally qualified health centers
The Senate has passed a bill that would create or expand federally qualified health centers through state grants of $3.2 million. A House-passed bill would provide $4.8 million in grants for more services at the centers. He said, “They serve over 300,000 Mississippians now, some that don’t have insurance, some that do and some on Medicaid. If we could expand that to another 100,000 to 150,000 Mississippians receiving preventative and primary care, it would be a great benefit to us.”
Criminal justice reform
Bryant supports an omnibus House bill, the result of a bipartisan task force and the Pew Charitable Trusts, aimed at reducing prison population and costs, standardizing sentencing and parole and reducing recidivism. Bryant calls it “being tough but also smart on crime.” Bryant pledged last fall his focus this session would be on public safety. Bryant’s proposal to add a special veterans’ court was also added to the bill.
TANF drug screening
The House passed a bill Bryant backs to require Temporary Assistance for Needy Families recipients to complete a drug questionnaire and take drug tests if the screening deems them a high risk for substance abuse. “I know how controversial this is, and people saying we are targeting TANF recipients,” Bryant said. “… But if someone’s abusing drugs, we need to try to get them treatment … get them clean and sober, get you to work and in a program.”
The Senate passed a measure Bryant supports that requires public colleges and universities to develop plans for addressing teen pregnancy among students. Bryant said, “Since I became governor, I made it a priority to confront and combat teen pregnancy in this state. We are already making progress and have seen (the rate) decline by 10.3 percent.”
Bryant wants to increase DPS funding, including $6.9 million for a trooper school to add 60 more troopers to the Highway Patrol. He has support in the House and with Speaker Philip Gunn. Its fate with Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves and the Senate is less certain. Bryant has indicated he might call lawmakers into special session if they fail to add troopers.
Bills Bryant supports passed the House and Senate and would mandate collection of DNA samples from people arrested for violent crimes. Bryant said similar legislation in New Mexico has helped solve hundreds of crimes. “I understand there is some concern about personal privacy, but I would say if there is probable cause you have committed a violent felony, then it’s no different than taking your photograph or fingerprint — a noninvasive swab,” Bryant said. “If we did nothing else this year but begin that DNA testing, it would solve some violent crimes, rapes and homicides that are cold files, and it would be a remarkable year if we did nothing more than that.”
The House approved a bill to create state law enforcement strike teams to help local agencies with high crime areas. Bryant said there are areas in the state “where gang involvement is to the point that they are overpowering law enforcement.” The teams would be under the attorney general’s office. “This is meeting a powerful criminal force that exists in this state,” Bryant said.
In God We Trust
Bryant is pushing for “In God We Trust” to be added to the state seal. The Senate killed the specific bill Bryant backed but added it as an amendment to another. Bryant said he was inspired to add it to the seal during a trip to Florida, which has the phrase on its state seal. “It’s something that means a great deal to me,” Bryant said.
Agencies, boards and commissions
This one appears to have failed. Bryant has vowed to reduce the state’s 204 agencies, boards and commissions, which have 1,826 appointees. Bryant had proposed that any that hadn’t met in 24 months be abolished, that four year terms be imposed, with a term limit of eight years consecutively. He also proposed that they be audited at least every two years and that they publicly publish their travel polices and expenses. Bryant’s proposals either died in committee or were not brought up. He said he had doubts about lawmakers passing such reforms because the boards all have large constituencies.
Mississippi is the most conservative state and the most religious….with that said it is NOT one of the happiest……..a recent survey, a well being if you will found the following….
Here’s a look at how other states fared according to their Well-Being Index score, which follows a scale of 0 to 100:
At the bottom:
- West Virginia: 61.4 (on the bottom for the 5th year running)
- Kentucky: 63
- Mississippi: 63.7
- Alabama: 64.1
- Ohio: 64.2
Check out the full list here.
The Gov ran on a platform of low taxes, education and jobs………Check out the list….now pick the ones that create jobs or improve the quality of life for Mississippians……… Could anyone offer a conclusion on why Mississippi is in sad shape?
I will wait.